Tucker County earns sectional title

Photo courtesy of Kelly Helmick The Tucker County Mountain Lions players and coaches display the trophy for winning the Class A Region II Section 2 championship with a 60-52 victory over the Pirates at Petersburg High School Saturday.

PETERSBURG — Paw Paw High School senior Christian Braithwaite put up a game-high 24 points Saturday, but it wasn’t enough to stop Tucker County from picking up a Class A Region II Section 2 championship with a 60-52 victory over the Pirates at Petersburg High School.

The Mountain Lions will now host a co-regional championship contest Wednesday when taking on No. 7 Trinity Christian School. Tipoff at TCHS is slated for 7 p.m.

“We came in a little shorthanded, but our seniors stepped up and played a really good game,” TCHS coach Jim Ambrose said. “We started out a little slow, and then kind of settled in during the second quarter.”

Paw Paw grabbed an 11-10 lead to start out the second quarter with, before the Mountain Lions got comfortable on the road for 23 second-stanza points on the Vikings’ hardwood to take a 33-26 lead to the halftime locker room.

Tucker increased their lead to 47-35 by the end of the third frame. Paw Paw won the fourth, 17-13, though the Mountains stayed in control throughout the final 8 minutes of regulation.

Junior Jeffrey Snyder inked a double-double with 16 points and 15 rebounds for Tucker County.

“Jeffrey stepped up and played huge for us,” said Ambrose. “Paw Paw plays really hard. They go to the glass well, and try to create second chance shot opportunities. Jeffrey rebounded very well to hold them to one shot a lot of times.”

Brandon Zirk, a Tucker senior, fleshed out a 17 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assist performance. Fellow 12th grader Wesley Snyder rounded up 16 for the scoring column, while dishing out 4 assists and grabbed 3 steals for the Mountain Lions.

Tucker’s leading scorer and rebounder, Corrick Ambrose, dressed but did not play due to an injury. Paw Paw junior Coby Ridgeway finished the game with 16 points for PPHS.

Saturday’s sectional crown win improved the Mountain Lions’ season record to 13-10. Basketballnight.com, which features polls from the AP and respective coaches, and also lists power ratings, has Class A Tucker at No. 19 as the black and gold prepare to face No. 7 Trinity Christian (17-7) on the mountain Wednesday.

As consistantly competitive programs in West Virginia Class A prep basketball, Tucker and the Trinity Warriors have scheduled oneanother every season for a number of years now. Last time out, the Mountain Lions went on the road to Morgantown, and pulled out a 71-63 win for the latest result in the ongoing series between the two schools.

“We’ll watch some film from the last game, and see what we need to improve on,” Ambrose added. “Our effort has to be tremendous. We are a lot better team when we have great effort.”

Tucker County’s G-UNIT, their student section, will be in attendance and ready to go at 7 p.m. Wednesday for a big home game. A shot at making it to the state dance in Charleston is also in play for the Mountain Lions.